No real introduction is needed to this email. I have been where this woman has been and it’s not a happy place. I’m sure most of us can relate.
I’m in my mid-20s, have a good job, can safely say that I am pretty and have an outgoing personality. I was raised in a two-parent home and my parents are still happily married. I have an older brother and sister who are married with children, and I have a younger brother currently learning in Eretz Yisrael. I’m mentioning all of this to let you know from the start that I am a normal person, or whatever “normal” means today.
I know that some people choose to not go out with others because: the person’s parents are divorced, the person was too fat/thin, not ambitious enough… or whatever reason someone wants to say or even make up. What I can’t understand is why I haven’t gone out or have been called by a shadchan in almost five months! I understand it’s hard to date with the Yamim Tovim, but it can be done. I’ve dated other years between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. I’ve gone out during Chol HaMoed Sukkos. I know the dating scene is pretty much back from when there was a stop because of COVID. Why is my phone not ringing?
I have been on Shabbatonim and a couple of singles events, but I don’t feel comfortable there. I call shadchanim and my sister and mother call for me, too… but nothing. I understand that it’s “not my time yet,” but I can’t even get a date! I try to keep busy, but how often can I go out with friends and with all the restrictions… But we do get together. I’m depressed about this. It’s not like I’m turning down shidduchim; they aren’t even calling! I’m embarrassed to say – even to you – that I haven’t dated in several months.
Anonymous, whom I will refer to as Annie, thank you for your email.
I know it doesn’t help to hear someone say, “I’ve been there.” Because now you don’t care who has been in the same position you are in, you just want to get out of it. I once went nine months without a call from a shadchan. Nine months!! I joked that I could’ve been pregnant and had a baby, but then I had no candidates to be the father because I hadn’t gone out with anyone. I was trying to make light of it, but it was a sad time. And at 30, it already makes someone feel like an old maid.
But let’s look at your situation. Even if you didn’t come from a family such as yours and didn’t have the stats that you have (stats because it sounds like we are talking about a player in the Major Leagues), there is no guarantee that you would be going out every other night with another fellow. People forget that they date the person, not his or her family or schooling or the title held at the office. “I married a Machon girl.” “I’m married to a medical school student.” Titles are nice, but you must live and get along with the actual person. So, let’s take your family, job, age, and physical features out of the equation. What are you left with? A crazy abnormal world of shidduchim where nothing makes any sense!
I’m glad to hear that you are putting yourself out in the world and not hibernating in your living room, because unless men are parading through your front door, you won’t meet anyone. But I understand that it’s hard to put yourself out there, and you don’t feel comfortable at the singles events. Maybe you don’t think it’s your type of crowd. Maybe you don’t feel comfortable when you feel corralled into a space and forced to make conversation or play fun “getting to know you” games with strangers. It’s great to read that you are calling shadchanim and not only relying on your mother. In all situations, the best advocate for yourself is yourself. I also thought it was immature to have “the boy’s mother” be the contact with the shadchan, when “the boy” was over 30, working… If you’re a grown up, then act like it in all ways and call the shadchan. Yes, it may be an awkward conversation because, you are not trying to sell the person on the other end of the line an encyclopedia or a vacuum cleaner, but rather yourself. You have to list all of your good qualities and then make your best sales pitch as to why they should redt a shidduch for you. Ugh! It’s horrible, I know. But it’s part of adulting people! Do it!
What I didn’t like reading was that you are embarrassed about not going out for the last several months. Who are you embarrassed by? Surely, not by your great two-parent, happily married household. If you and your chevrah share dating tales and you haven’t had anything to contribute, it doesn’t mean it’s because you have nothing to share. Many times, when situations get serious, people don’t tell friends because they don’t want an ayin ha’ra or anything to go bad. But then again, you have some of those who talk about every detail of every date. No one needs to know that you have taken a forced sabbatical from dating. In fact, I never spoke about dates until after the situation was over. It was none of my friends’ business, and some things can be kept private. Keep it to yourself or say that you are taking some “me time.” As I tell people in many situations, “less is more.” Leave a little intrigue, mystery. Don’t be such an open book, because if you are an open book, when you don’t have anything to say, people may wonder, “What’s happening with Annie?” And don’t be so caught up in what everyone else thinks. But if you are upset and embarrassed about it, just because you think everyone else is going out all the time and getting engaged, don’t think that way. No one goes out all the time; everyone has dating sabbaticals (some more than others). Be happy for those who found their zivug, because you will want everyone to be happy for you when it’s your turn.
Please do not equate self-worth or value by going out on dates and having an “active social life.” Don’t depend on dating and marriage to help you value yourself. I don’t know you, but I am sure you are a beautiful person inside and out. I hope this forced sabbatical hasn’t made you question “what’s wrong with me?” Because the answer is: absolutely nothing!
Use this time wisely. Maybe you should focus on yourself; take a trip. If you can get away from all the COVID restrictions, do it! Relax. But I understand if you have used vacation time for the Yamim Tovim. Find a good book to immerse yourself in. I recently found a new author and have read three of her books. I love them, but I find myself so angry at the end when everything comes together, because it’s not the obvious ending that I thought it would be (this author always throws a few curve balls in the last few chapters that change everything!). Try pampering yourself; get Do It Yourself kits for manicure pedicures, new makeup to try on, take on a new hobby. I love that you mentioned that you get together with your friends, because having a good support system is very important in emotional situations. Some may take this time to renew their relationship with Hashem and listen and/or attend more shiurim from rabbanim you may not be familiar with, you may find what they have to say uplifting. Annie, use this time to do whatever you want, except to pout. You will never get this time back and only wish for a couple of hours of silence and to be left alone, im yirtzeh Hashem, when you do find your zivug and begin raising a family. Most importantly, as I mentioned earlier, make sure you learn to love yourself and that you have confidence in yourself, because when those calls do come, there is nothing more appealing than a male or female who has self-esteem and confidence. But don’t cross the line to being arrogant and obnoxious.
I have no answers for why you are dateless at this point in your life; but, as I said in the beginning, don’t try to make sense of the shidduch world because it does not make any sense!
Hatzlachah to you all!